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March 22, 2023

7 Must-See Reykjavik Neighborhoods according to

This cosmopolitan capital packs an outsized punch. Iceland’s capital may be small, but each of its neighbourhoods has its own distinct atmosphere

While it’s easy to stick to the well-worn streets of the downtown area, it’s well worth venturing farther afield to dodge the tourist crowds and get a better sense of life in Reykjavik.

Luckily, given the compact size of the city, it’s easy to do some exploring by foot, bus, or guided tour. Whether you want to stroll through leafy parks, sip cocktails in chic bars, or meet locals while soaking in a geothermically-heated hot tub, here are some ideas for Reykjavik neighbourhoods to visit.

Downtown Reykjavik's 101 district.

Your first stop for Reykjavik’s top sightseeing. Also known as Miðborg or 101 Reykjavik (after its zip code), Reykjavik’s downtown area is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s best-known attractions. It’s home to Laugavegur (the city’s main shopping street), as well as many museums, including the National Gallery of Iceland, the Harpa concert hall, and the city’s tallest building, Hallgrim’s Church (Hallgrímskirkja). If you fancy a night out, this is where you want to be. Kaffibarinn and Prikið are reliably lively party spots, while Kaldi Bar and Veður Bar both promise a more laid-back evening of cocktail sipping.


Stretching west from downtown to the edge of Seltjarnarnes, Vesturbær—which translates to “West Town”—is a historically working-class district that has seen quite a bit of development in recent years. Still far less tourist-focused than downtown, Versturbær is a lovely place to wander, pop into cafés and ice cream shops, and get a feel for local life. Around Grandi (the Old Harbor), you’ll find top attractions including FlyOver Iceland, the Saga Museum, and the Grandi Mathöll food hall. Whale-watching tours typically depart from here, too.


Reykjavik’s top foodie neighbourhood. Until a few years ago, the Hlemmur neighbourhood (toward the eastern end of Laugavegur) revolved around the city’s main bus terminal and not much else. However, Hlemmur station has been reborn as a food hall (Hlemmur Mathöll), the first of a now-growing trend in Reykjavik where you can find vendors serving Vietnamese, Italian, French, and—of course—Icelandic cuisine. After filling up, you can stretch your legs a wander around Klambratún, one of the city’s largest public parks.

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